Manual of Detection

  • by Jedediah Berry
  • Narrated by Pete Larkin
  • 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must solve a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams.In an unnamed city slick with rain, Charles Unwin toils as a clerk at an imperious detective agency. His job: writing reports on cases solved by the palindromic Detective Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor is murdered, Unwin is promoted to detective, a rank for which he is woefully unprepared. His only guidance comes from his sleepy new assistant and the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection.Unwin mounts his search for Sivart but soon faces impossible questions: Why does the mummy at the Municipal Museum have modern-day dental work? Where have all the city's alarm clocks gone? Can the man with the blond beard really read his thoughts? Meanwhile, Unwin is framed for murder, pursued by goons, and confounded by a femme fatale. His only choice: to enter the dreams of a murdered man.


What the Critics Say

"Berry's ambitious debut reverberates with echoes of Kafka and Paul Auster." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

fun quirky noir

this is my 2nd time with this novel and i enjoyed it again.

if you can follow this train of thought you'll have an idea what you're in for: think Ray Bradbury's Death is a Lonely Business (noir) crossed with his Something Wicked This Way Comes (carnival) filtered through P.K. Dick (surrealist reality) written by Douglas Adams (quirky humor) with a touch of Marquez (magical realism) with a heavy dose of Inception (dreams) and maybe a touch of Dark City.

a friend was correct and i had forgotten or listened to this pre-Inception, but there are enough elements in common to make you wonder if Nolan had read this.

this would make a very interesting visually stunning film if done by someone like Nolan or the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director.
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- Darryl


I had high hopes since this book was recommended by Nancy Pearl, but I was very disappointing. A fantasy set in a nameless (post?) modern city dominated by a gray 46 floor 'agency', the story has elements of Franz Kafka and the paintings of Rene Magritte (i.e., umbrellas and hats) but the characters are mostly undeveloped blanks and the plot is so full of mysteries that the listener has no idea of what is going on. It is a bit like watching someone work a crossword without seeing the clues: not very satisfying. I finished it because I paid for it, but it is not compelling, rather just the opposite. The reader is good.
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- James Fundeburgh "JimF"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-19-2009
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books